Final declaration of the 20th Meeting of the São Paulo …

We, the member parties of the São Paulo Forum (SPF), gathered in La Paz, in the Plurinational State of Bolivia, on August 25—29, 2014, under the banner “Defeating poverty and the imperialist counteroffensive, achieving Living Well, Development, and Integration in Our America”, wish to make known our position concerning a number of themes related to the international situation and our Great Latin-American and Caribbean Motherland.
We wish to thank the Movement Toward Socialism – Political Instrument for the Sovereignty of the Peoples (MAS-IPSP) of Bolivia for hosting the 20th Meeting of the São Paulo Forum, at this moment when the Latin-American and Caribbean countries are seeking to further deepen regional integration based on the principles of solidarity between the peoples, development with cooperation and complementariness, social justice, democracy, and popular participation. We are particularly pleased for being in a country where a Government of the Social Movements is carrying out a Democratic and Cultural Revolution that is premised on the recovery of natural resources, state leadership, sovereignty, communitarianism, and socialism from the perspective of Well Living.
We declare our support to our brother Evo Morales, his government, the MAS-IPSP, and wish to congratulate the Bolivian people for the impressive achievements made in this process of sweeping changes: the construction of the Plurinational State and the setting in place of an economic model that generates surpluses and redistributes them for the benefit of the whole of the population through a variety of mechanisms. We are sure that this revolution will further deepen after the upcoming October elections. The SPF recognizes the contribution made by Bolivia to universal revolutionary theory and practice underpinned on the leading role of the Social Movements in the revolutionary transformation and in the interplay between socialism and the emancipatory project of the indigenous peoples.
We reaffirm our commitment to the content of previous declarations, in particular that of the 19th Meeting in São Paulo and the declaration of the Working Group approved in Managua in February 2014. These declarations support the establishment of the Palestinian State pursuant with the resolutions of the United Nations, with sovereignty for the territories occupied by the Israelis since 1967. They also support the independence of Puerto Rico and demand the immediate release of Óscar López Rivera, as well as condemn all forms of colonialism, in particular the persisting European domination over countries like Martinique, Guadalupe, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, and the so-called French Guyana, and reaffirm their right to self-determination. Moreover, they call for the recovery of sovereignty of the Malvinas Islands as a Latin-American and Caribbean cause and, from the perspective favoring the establishment of a Latin America as a region of peace that is driven by relations based on cooperation and complementariness, support any initiative aimed at settling, on the basis of dialogue and respect for international law, the Bolivian-Chilean dispute with a sovereign access by Bolivia to the sea.
Nearly twenty-five years after the creation of the São Paulo Forum, one of the most successful and unifying experiences of the left in the Latin-American and Caribbean region, a review of the political situation is unquestionably favorable to the political forces that make it up. When the São Paulo Forum was created, only one country was governed by a party belonging to the Forum. Today there are more than ten. Over the last years, the left, through different processes of accumulation, has not lost elections in any country of Latin America after having won them. The only cases where it lost the government are connected with coups d’état, namely in Honduras and Paraguay. Today Latin America is no longer going through a time of changes, but through a change of time.
Yet, the progressive and leftist processes carried out in Latin America and in the Caribbean are almost an exception in a world that is shifting from a relative decline of the US unipolarity toward a multipolar situation in a context of economic, social, and political crises, as well as armed conflicts of global implications, such as the new aggression and strike by the government of Israel against Palestinian territory, particularly Gaza; the attacks by the USA and NATO against Iraq and Libya, which have prompted a growth of fundamentalist armed groups, like the Islamic State (IS), and the multinational foreign aggressions against Syria. We also point out the foreign meddling in Ukraine by the alliance between the USA and the European Union (EU) with neo-Nazi groups, which is designed to isolate Russia. The contradictions between this alliance and those seeking Independence in certain regions of Eastern Ukraine have led to the latter’s confrontation with that country’s army. We condemn the Ukrainian attacks against the civilian population and demand immediate ceasefire.
These conflicts are expressions of the world’s new geopolitical design, in which the United States is striving to affirm the validity of the hegemony or to react to the pressures it is facing. In Iraq what is at stake is one of the world’s main oil-producing regions. In the case of the crisis in Ukraine, there is a reaction by the Putin government to reject NATO’s provocations near Russian borders. As a response to the sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union on Russia, the Russian government decided to embargo food purchases from these economies. This measure strongly affects farmers in these countries and encourages new suppliers, especially those from Latin America.
The SPF wishes to express its solidarity with the struggle of the Sahrawi people, led by the Polisario Front and the SADR, for territorial rights they are entitled to and are being denied by the Moroccan monarchy since 1975. We greet the President of the SADR, Mohamed Abdelaziz, and urge the governments of Our America to recognize this government, thus enabling the opening of diplomatic offices in our countries.
Against this background of military confrontations, there is also an offensive by the neoliberal capitalist forces and imperialism, through its multinational corporations and the international bank system, in an attempt to control natural resources, especially forests, seas, and sources of water, which lead to socio-environmental, territorial, and cultural conflicts with peasant and traditional indigenous communities on the five continents, communities that should be consulted in conformity with the United Nations’ declaration on the collective rights of the indigenous peoples for the purpose of ensuring that their territorial rights are respected.
The SPF fights for the environment, natural resources, the seas, the forests, and the water. Moreover, it fights against the disastrous impacts of increased greenhouse gases, on the road to COP 20, in Lima in December 2014, and COP 21, in Paris in December 2015, on climate change, aiming at a global agreement that may mitigate it, besides driving a sustained and sustainable, and renewable productive economy and culture, with solidarity and Living Well practices, and against primary exporting economies subordinated to the world market.
In this regard we wish to express our solidarity with the ecologic, humanist, and demanding position of the government and people of Ecuador in their struggle against transnational oil company Chevron, which has done so much harm to the country’s Amazon region and to countless countries around the world.
At present two paramount political elements come to the fore. One of them is the undisputed continuity of the advance by the progressive and leftist forces of Latin America and the Caribbean. We greet the Salvadoran people and the FMLN for the victory won in this year’s presidential elections, headed by Salvador Sánchez Cerén, a member of the general command during the civil war, the negotiator of and signatory to the 1992 Peace Agreements, who will advance and deepen the democratic transition initiated in 2009 in El Salvador, with the first FMLN government. Besides that, we have the unprecedented advance of the left in Costa Rica with the Broad Front and in Honduras with the positions won by political party LIBRE, even though the Honduran militaristic regime continues to assassinate political leaders of the opposition. In these two countries, the left-wing forces are now formidably organized detachments engaged in a fight for social change and relying on important institutional spaces.
In Central America we point out the importance of the advance of the left and, in particular, the presence and impact of the Sandinista Revolution, once again in motion in Nicaragua, following the recovery of power by Sandinismo in 2006. This revolutionary process has substantially consolidated through the construction of revolutionary political hegemony, manifest in overwhelming and sustained popular support to the administration of the present Sandinista government headed by the President of Nicaragua, Commander Daniel Ortega. The existence of a social, and of a military and security forces, movement that emerged from the revolution, as well as Sandinista hegemony at the institutional level and over political power as a whole, have enabled advancing in the construction of direct democracy as the new political model, plus achieving democratization of the means of communication, while also successfully building popular economic power through targeted policies and programs. This has meant remarkable advances in the enhancement of the living conditions of the Nicaraguan people in the context of sustained economic growth, which will be substantially consolidated with the construction and setting in place of the interoceanic canal.
In Chile, we hail the victory of President Michelle Bachelet, at the head of the New Majority coalition. We express our solidarity with the advance of the structural reforms being carried out in Chile and celebrate the recovery of its foreign policy’s commitment to the regional integration and convergence processes.
In response to these achievements, the fascist right wing and far-right relapsed into their destabilization strategy mostly as a reaction to their inability to defeat politically the popular forces that in succeeding contests have come out with victory. This happened again this year in Venezuela, where the oligarchy and the fascist far-right have insisted on attempting several coup d’état actions, which had utterly failed before, under the assumption that, this time, the physical absence of our always-remembered Commander Hugo Chávez would make the difference for the benefit of their plans. Yet, in Venezuela there is a conscious, mobilized, and organized people, as well as Bolivarian Armed Forces whose discipline is underpinned by their patriotic consciousness in defense of the Revolution.
The right-wing forces in Venezuela are trying, through violence, to start a civil war and disavow the undeniable legitimacy of the government of President Nicolás Maduro Moros. We reject in the strongest terms the attempt by the government of the United States to kidnap a Venezuelan diplomat, General Hugo Carvajal, last July in Aruba, a fact that further confirms the campaign masterminded by the right against the Bolivarian National Armed Force. With this they sought to trigger a serious crisis between the two countries, with unfathomable consequences for peace in the region. We express our solidarity with the Venezuelan people, who once again face an unprecedented economic and media war organized by the national oligarchic groups, transnational economic consortia, and the US Department of State.
As part of a global counteroffensive by imperialism and the right-wing forces, it is necessary to warn the parties and governments of the region about the danger posed by the right-wing restoration, whose introduction is being attempted in our countries through a wide range of subversive instruments run and coordinated by the United States, jointly with political and social right-wing organizations, transnational corporations, the media, among other counterrevolutionary actors, attempting against the governments that in their opinion constitute an obstacle to or affect their global interests.
Worthy of a special mention is the monitoring and denouncing of the Bilateral Investment Agreements signed by our countries over the last decade of the last century, during the zenith of obscure neoliberalism, whose application may constitute, these days, a deeply destabilizing economic factor and a tool of international blackmail against our countries, thus violating our sovereignty. These media, economic, political, and social strategies often precede direct military invasion, but are also present in the precepts of the so-called soft power deployed over the more recent period.
Today, what we may call a “nonconventional war” is under way, for example, military aggressions, as in the case of Libya, and certain medium-term, political-influence practices are combined with more radical destabilizing actions that overtly target the so-called “change of regime” through “supposedly popular” uprisings, terrorist groups, and imperialist meddling, which can escalate into an armed conflict, as in the Syrian case.
The Venezuelan people defeated the terrorist actions of early this year with popular mobilization, through a call for political dialogue by President Nicolás Maduro, the fortress of democracy’s every institution, and the strong position adopted by the Bolivarian National Armed Force, committed as it is to peace and the principles set forth in the Constitution.
We condemn the criminalization of social struggles in several countries, particularly in Guatemala, where the military-oligarchic alliance that governs that country is intensifying repression against indigenous peoples and movements that are standing up for the natural resources, the land, and the territories that are being invaded and plundered by national and transnational companies.
We would also like to express our concern with a very serious situation of human rights violation endured by the South-American and Caribbean migrants crossing through Central America and Mexico. We demand respect for their physical integrity and human rights. We are concerned with the detention of hundreds of girls, boys, and teenagers by the US migration authorities and condemn the xenophobic attitudes of conservative US groups that seek to expel [migrants] in violation of that country’s laws. We express our solidarity with the migrant movement in the USA in their claim for full migratory reform.
All these antidemocratic plans against our peoples are being carried out today, as the lawsuit filed by the Vulture Funds advancing over Argentina, which constitute a threat to Latin America and the Caribbean by attacking political and economic sovereignty. The actions by these funds, tools of the financial capital, are seeking to recover neoliberalism’s influence over the governments. In this respect, it is worth noting the efforts by Argentina to leverage legal instruments to recover jurisdiction over its debt.
In Cuba, the criminal, unfair, and inhumane trade, financial, and economic blockade is still in effect against the Island, compounded by the unilateral practice adopted by the US government of keeping Cuba on an annual list of countries sponsoring terrorism. Moreover, despite the fact that the Cuban people and government have managed to move forward, we must continue our struggle for the lifting of the siege. We must also fight to prevent the application of laws of an extraterritorial nature, with which the United States of America intends to put pressure on governments and companies in friendly terms with the Island, and fight for the freedom of the Cuban Heroes incarcerated in US prisons for having fought against terrorism as carried out against the Cuban people.
We underscore the process of updating socialism that is taking place in Cuba, which we must closely follow given its strategic and economic importance for that country and for the whole of Latin America and the Caribbean. Cuba’s leading role in the regional and international arenas was further strengthened at the 2nd CELAC Summit, where the respect Cuba and its leaders enjoy was made evident, while also clarifying the level of isolationism of the US policy toward Cuba.
The governments of Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru signed in April 2011 the creation of the Pacific Alliance (PA), which, according to the Declaration of Lima, is seeking to “encourage regional integration, as well as higher growth, development, and competitiveness” of its countries’ economies and “steadily advance toward the goal of achieving free circulation of goods, services, capital, and people”. Moreover, in 2012 negotiations resumed toward the signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, or TPP, a multilateral free trade agreement bringing together 12 nations: the United States, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Vietnam, Canada, and Latin-American Mexico, Peru, and Chile.
Both the PA and the TPP seek to boost Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with the countries in the Pacific Rim, which so far have had disastrous outcomes for our peoples. This is the creation of the governments of the United States and the imperialist powers, as they seek to divide the economic, trade, political, and cultural integration of the Latin-American and Caribbean peoples, expressed in Our America’s distinct own processes. The SPF rejects these two forms of integration subordinated to the great powers.
In this regard, it is worth mentioning the importance of the latest meeting held by the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), in Fortaleza, Brazil and its decisions to create a Development Bank and the “Contingent Reserve Agreement”. Also, the meeting between the BRICS and UNASUR, as well as those between China and the CELAC coordination, and the G-77 plus China Summit. These represent important arenas of discussion and sovereign cooperation between blocs that share their discomfort with the current global governance mechanisms, which are still accountable to the international setting established more than half a century ago and no longer correspond to reality.
From the perspective of Latin-American unity and integration, as well as of South-South relations, it is imperative to more proactively act toward the strengthening of all integration mechanisms and regional political forums, like the UNASUR and CELAC — Latin America and the Caribbean’s dialogue tool. Likewise, the Mercosur, ALBA, PETROCARIBE, and CARICOM, along with the Area of Complementarity established by them. In this respect, the SPF must move forward with concrete proposals and, when these integration mechanisms set forth the establishment of parliaments, we advocate that these should be plural in their composition.
It is of the utmost importance that the Mercosur continues with the process of enlarging the integration that began with the Southern Cone by introducing the necessary and indispensable measures for its consolidation at all levels, especially by developing the Mercosur Social and Productive initiative. In this context, we must give a definitive boost to the full integration of Bolivia and Ecuador as an unequivocal sign of the soundness of the Mercosur and the region’s growth process in the international scene. The holding in Caracas, Venezuela of the Mercosur Presidential Summit, after it had been postponed several times, made it possible to resume this regional initiative, which requires accelerating focal integration processes and regional supply chains, the energy and infrastructure integration, strategic plans, social action, and the consolidation of the Bank of the South.
Achieving a just and democratic peace in Colombia is crucial for the region’s stability. We resolutely support the dialogue between the FARC-EP and the Colombian government, in the context of a bilateral ceasefire and humanization of the conflict. We support the formal opening of negotiations with the ELN and the contacts with the EPL.
This way we keep on moving forward and building our own paths, as they emerge from our own reality and from our own history. We must coordinate and call the social organizations in the region to participate in the development of the Latin-American and Caribbean integration process, and to elect this cause one of its main political demands. Only the development of this integration process will ensure our peoples’ self-determination and sovereignty and, once our peoples embrace this cause, the process will be irreversible.
A new economic and social model, alternative to the neoliberal, presupposes a radical breaking away with the patriarchal system of social and political organization. Therefore, the SPF is committed to full equality of all persons and demands that their human rights be guaranteed regardless of gender, sexual options, or the fact that they are sexual workers.
We call on all men and women to wage the battle represented by the upcoming presidential elections in Bolivia, Brazil, and Uruguay, in October this year, by supporting the respective electoral formulas of Evo Morales Ayma and Álvaro García Linera, Dilma Rousseff and Michel Temer, and Tabaré Vázquez and Raúl Sendic. In these elections, once again there will be a fierce contest between the left and the right, while the media will continue to play the role of the main “opposition parties”. Our victory is vital for carrying on with the process of economic, social, and political changes in the Latin-American and Caribbean region.
Lastly, we thank the PRD and the PT of Mexico for their offer to host the 21st Meeting of the São Paulo Forum in 2015.
La Paz, August 29th, 2014.